Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

Why is my DVD player showing a black and white image?

Toshiba VHS/DVD combo

Episode 1550

Greg from Ozarks

Greg has a DVD/VCR combo, but it only plays in black and white. Leo says that the likely culprit is a bad composite cable (red, white, yellow). So he should replace that. They're pretty cheap. ScooterX in the chatroom says that in the memo of the DVD player, there's a setting that could be affecting it. The TV may be using the same jacks for component as it does for composite. He should check his menu settings. TomsGuide has information on how to do that.

What antenna do I need to cut the cable?

TV Antenna

Episode 1550

Dan from New Jersey

Dan is ready to cut the cord and wants to know what equipment he needs. Which antenna should he buy? Leo says it depends on where he lives, and what stations he can get. There are two websites he should check out: TVFool and Antenna Web. Both sites will tell him what stations will be available based on his address, and will make recommendations on what is the best antenna for his situation. Yagi makes some of the best directional antennas, though.

Why is my Wi-Fi dropping out?

Netgear AC2600 Router

Episode 1549

Clarence from Chesapeake, VA

Clarence has issues with his laptop's Wi-Fi intermittently dropping after adding a new modem and Netgear router. Leo says to connect the laptop directly to the router and see if it drops out. If it doesn't, then he'll know the internet connection is fine, and the Wi-Fi radio in the laptop is flakey. If it keeps happening, then that would lead to his router, or even modem. Another possibility is the power-saving may be turned on in the Wi-Fi settings of his laptop. Just disable power-saving and it should be OK from there. It could even be congestion from other internet devices.

Can I watch TV with headphones and speakers?

Vizio Sound Bar

Episode 1549

Don from Santa Barbara, CA

Don recently bought a new LG TV, and he likes to watch TV with ear phones, but his wife doesn't. When he uses the earphone jack, it shuts off the speakers. What can he do? Leo says the easiest way to do it is to use dual audio outputs. Leo recommends a sound bar that he can plug into the optical port, and then he can use the headphones with the headphone jack. Vizio makes a good budget sound bar for around $100. The other option is an analog splitter.

Why is my Blu-ray player "jerky?"

Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player

Episode 1549

Rich from Tuscon, AZ

Rich recently bought a 4K TV, now he's having issues watching Blu-ray DVDs that are non 4K, because it's a bit "jerky." Leo says it's called "decoding hesitation." Scott says that the very first Samsung Blu-ray players had problems with resolution and detail. It's also related to upscaling. What's odd is that it's inconsistent, happening every 5-10 seconds. Leo also says the Blu-ray player is losing sync when decoding the data stream. A better player will fix the problem, and if Rich is looking to get the next component in his new 4K system, the Blu-ray player is where to start.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1549

Scott says that there are now 4K HDR projectors, and you can get them under $5,000. It sounds like a lot, but it really isn't considering where the prices were last year. Sony makes one that uses a technique called E-Shift, or 4K enhancement. The pixels 'wiggle' back and forth and can create close to 4K using 1080p imagers. It's pretty impressive. Scott says that the black levels are key to making the image really pop, and JVC is better with black levels than Sony. TheDLA-X790R is the one with great native contrast ratio and deep blacks.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1547

This week, Scott says that Tom Cruise came out this week against "motion smoothing" in modern TVs and encourages fans to turn off frame interpolation on their TVs before watching Mission Impossible: Fallout on Blu-ray. Scott says it isn't trivial to find the feature and turn it off either. It's called something different with every manufacturer. On top of that, it's turned on by default. Motion smoothing, Vivid mode, or frame interpolation, sharpens your image, which can be helpful in watching sports or action movies.

What 4K TV should I buy?

LG C8 OLED

Episode 1546

Marcello from California

Marcello wants to get a new 4K TV to go with his new home. Should he wait for HDMI 2.1? Leo says the only real reason to wait for HDMI 2.1 is to buy an 8K TV, which isn't really practical right now because they're too expensive and there's no content for them. It's still a few years away. The more important feature is HDR. So there's no real reason to wait. If money is no object for Marcello, then the LG C8 OLED is the best TV ever. But it's $8,000 for a 70". If he can afford it, it's gorgeous display.